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Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott Hosts Adoption Month Listening Session

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AUSTIN - Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott today hosted a Listening Session in conjunction with Adoption Month, bringing together stakeholders for an open dialogue on the issues facing the state’s child welfare system. 

“Providing the support and care that Texas children and families in the state’s child welfare system need is a bigger job than state government can do alone, and it is important to get all of the stakeholders around the same table,” the First Lady said. “By strengthening partnerships and collaboration, I know we can better serve our fellow Texans. But it will take everyone working together to raise awareness, increase positive outcomes, and build stronger families, healthier children and safer communities.

The Listening Session convened individuals and organizations from all facets of the foster care system, including government, nonprofits serving kids and families, the faith community, advocates in the legal system, community based care, foster and adoptive parents, and others. Below is a full list of participants. 

  • Hank Whitman, Commissioner, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
  • Kristene Blackstone, Associate Commissioner for Child Protective Services, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
  • Andrea Sparks, Director, Child Sex Trafficking Team, Office of the Governor
  • Katie Olse, Executive Director, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services
  • Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops
  • Julie Kouri, Founder and Executive Director, Fostering Hope Austin
  • Wayne Carson, ‎CEO, ACH Child and Family Services
  • Leslie Morton, Communications and Awareness Executive Director, Texas CASA & CASA Volunteer
  • Bill Lund, CEO, CK Family Services                       
  • Kris Calder, Foster and Adoptive Parent

Last November Mrs. Abbott launched her Network of Nurture initiative, where she has partnered with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to raise awareness about the ways Texans can support the children and families in the state’s child welfare system. 

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